Insomnia: 'I now have the tools to deal with it'
Sonya Cooling (39), a Montessori teacher from Dundalk, spent almost a year surviving on just a few hours sleep a night before ally finding help at Dublin's Insomnia Clinic.
She says: "It all started with a bad night's sleep here and there. There were a lot of things wrong with my house that I was trying to get sorted and I felt very stressed about it all.
"But gradually it became five out of seven nights where I'd fall asleep for an hour then wake up. I'd toss and turn for a couple of hours before drifting off for about 10 minutes then wake again for two hours. By the time I had to get up in the morning, I felt like a zombie.
"I tried loads of things: lavender oil, not drinking tea or coffee, going for walks, yoga, relaxation but nothing helped.
"Even once I'd got the house sorted and been away on a relaxing holiday, my sleeping wouldn't go back to normal.
"I went to the doctor who tried me on sleeping pills but they just felt like they were numbing me out. I still felt alert.
"Finally I was referred to the sleep clinic. I had to do a sleep study where I was monitored and then I started CBTi with Breege Leddy.
"It didn't happen overnight, but by the time I finished the six-week course, I was getting four quality hours of sleep a night and now I'm up to five and a half. That might not sound like a lot to some people but to me it's bliss!
"I learned a lot about strategies, sleep hygiene (keeping the bedroom just for sleep) and how to get my body into a routine. If things go awol again, I feel I now have the tools to deal with it.
"If you follow CBTi to the letter – it works, and I'd recommend it.
"By the time I got help I would have walked over hot coals to get a good night's sleep!"